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I think he has a point insofar as Ubuntu's user interface has thousands of small usability issues like the one he mentioned; each of them a corner case that impacts a tiny subset of end users, and so each tends to get individually brushed aside because the fix would require a lot of hard work (polishing is, after all, about doing a lot of hard work), and wouldn't benefit that many people vs rewriting-the-audio-layer-yet-again or how-about-a-new-HAL-this-one-is-almost-mature or some other big/sexy project with mindshare.

The problem with that thinking is that all of those little corner cases, in aggregate, create a situation in which you are constantly encountering little unpolished, sharp edged bits of ungainly behavior, and it's never going to go away until people reject CADT-type behavior and realize that polishing enough corner-cases for small subsets benefits large majorities in aggregate.

Shuttleworth seems cognizant of this with his support for the paper-cuts project, but there's too little of this polishing going on upstream for a 100-odd little fixes per-release effort to really tip the balance too far towards improvement.

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